I GOT THE CALL

I look good made up in my compassion-finery.  My spiritual make-up rivals Starlet must-have miracles in a jar.

Looking good, but kiss proof.

But, naked, my thoughts challenge any great thriller writer.

Oh yeah, I’ve been pissed.

My heart burns with a sense of outrage, a point of finger to the offender.   At times, I have held a chronicle of the ways someone has wronged me.  I keep score.  I decide to cut my ties.  But, I don’t really let go.

I am the person I describe above.   I’ve allowed her to be that  ..no one, nothing has ever chastised me for this, because I hide it so well.

My brother has been one person who I hold to account.  Lots of reasons, to be sure.   I have prided myself at times on the ways others would back me up if they had the “facts”.   I have felt so entitled to be closed off to him.  Maybe with cause..maybe not, maybe I should just fucking let it all go to the grudge commode in the sky, for proper recycling.

Dump it and flush.

My brother may be in straits that anyone might shudder from..he may be sick.   And, I am sick if I don’t rise to the occasion and try to find a way to let go of the crap and hold close the light.  Because the clock waits for no one, especially someone who understands the power of intending to forgive like me, but passes on the chance to do it.

Yes, that’s me as a wee lass.

I know things about Things.  I am spiritually educated, one might say.

I don’t pretend to know more, I only can feel the colors, the design, the intersections, and live accordingly.

So, I am going to task myself to be a better person.  Do the really hard things.

Let go of the stuff I could not control,
the things that happened that angered or hurt me,
recognize the pain in people that blind and disable them,
be grateful that the stuff is forgivable,
ride high on the most insightful thoughts any of us have ever shared,
become a better version of me.

As you read this, you are reading a transformation.  Because as I write this, I have decided, I am going to forgive.

A Year Long Business Experiment

My Blog posts have a reputation for being, on occasion, inspiring.  Today, I hope to publish a blog that will be valuable and informative.

For the last year, I’ve participated in a one-person experiment using goodwill as a tool to forge professional connections.  It’s not that I set out to do this for the purposes of experimentation, but I’ve approached establishing myself in Screenwriting and Film with goodwill as my calling card.  It hasn’t been hard to do, or foreign to me.  It’s admittedly, part of who I am.

Today, I will disclose the results of the experiment, and its implications for Business.

First, let’s just get it out of the way:  Nice is often seen as weakness.  The belief goes that nice people don’t possess the savvy needed to succeed.  Otherwise they’d bear their sharp, canine fangs.  Nice people are chiffon in the world of business – can’t hold a crease, right?

That’s quite a stereotype to live down.  A nice person ignites a response in another to mull “the Nice’ around and determine what it means.  For some, the fact that a person appears to be nice means that they can assemble their vultures on a nearby tree, and wait for the right chance to exploit it.

For others, it means that nice negates whatever other skills might be present.  Nice, the perception goes,  throws water on any fire needed to gain advantage.  Nice could never go into battle.  Nice is seen as a weakness, straight up.

I met a producer at a premiere last year.  When he knew me well enough to admit the following, he shed the emotion like a too-warm coat.  He confessed, “When I met you, I was so put off.  You were so nice.  It was..disturbing.”  Truth be told, now we’re true friends.

But, putting anyone off with too nice, can be disturbing to the nice person.  It can cause ‘Sharing Remorse’.  A nice woman, G*d forbid, should be ready for the “She’s really sweet.”

In truth, she may wear a steel spiked nipple ring and chew on nails for fun.  But appear sweet, and a person would seem to have become a business eunuch, incapable of the balls needed to get something done or better, achieve a Business Coup.

Prior to committing to Screenwriting and Fiction Writing, I committed myself to a self-employed life as a Medical Intuitive and a Healer.  I built a worldwide practice based on referrals, received referrals from doctors, even a University Medical School Clinic.  Good at my job, and nice, too.  A health practitioner who has a poor bedside manner will not generate referrals.  Lucky for me that I’m just nice.

Or, has nice been a choice for me?  When I was five, I poked a hamster with my finger…

Put my finger in through the bars in his pitiful cage and poked him.  He bit me.  My first exposure to cause and effect when a stick is wielded.

When I was in college, my Orange County mentality of Sun, Sand, Malls, and Pools fell to the awareness that people starved, lamented a lack of freedom, suffered.

My response, become more human.  Give a shit.  And, I’ve been caring ever since.

I see the suffering in everyone – not just the obvious, but the fact that in all of us, we are a three year-old who wants a hug from our parent, we are an eight-year old who wants to feel liked, we are a fifteen year-old who wishes acne were invisible, we are the adult who wants to feel valuable.

So, the nice has been the ‘I see you’.  But, the problem is, lots of people, especially in Business, want you to notice the big gun in their pocket.

So, what’s a nice person to do?

I’ve never been one to follow established systems.  If I think it can be done another way, I just create the path.

So, when it’s come to Business, I’ve decided to be nice.  My Business Gun does sit cocked, lest it be needed.  But, I have rarely had to pull it.

Yesterday, I watched a person pull a Business Gun to get what he wanted.  Sort of the hammer when a feather would have worked approach.  The stunt was pulled on someone I care about.  I had forged a business relationship with this person with goodwill.  Then, this person, who wasn’t going to get what he wanted after trying to manipulate to get it, pulled the “I have no choice but to…”, then finished it with “Of course, I’ll honor…”  But, the truth is, that after the gunfire of sorts, the person I cared about lie bleeding out, and no amount of mention of honor was going to plug the bullet hole.

Actions like that stem from someone believing he or she will not get what she wants another way.  In the scenario above, the person I reference who pulled the business ‘gun’ completely glossed over suggesting the option that would have given the desired result, because he believed that the option would be refused.  Surprisingly, the option he wanted ultimately but did not believe he would get, is the very option that will now be proposed to him.

The bottom line on business negotiations: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in the form you need it, in a way that is honest.  Allow the other party in business to collaborate at your needs level, and strategize to give you what you need.

A year of observation has reduced my results to the following:

If you’re at school and want to make a friend, do you offer to trade your Ding-Dong for an apple?
YES.
Is it possible that the kid will grab it from you and run off?
YES.
But, the Math of the Ding-Dong says that at some point on the graph of giving, you will encounter a grateful kid glad to trade.
FRIEND MADE.

You have to offer a lot of Ding-Dongs to get an apple.

But, a Ding-Dong offered and taken with a smile, and an apple handed over, is what creates Business relationships on your terms.

During the summer, a well-known author put out on Twitter that she had a hand injury and could not type.
I replied with “I’ll help.”  A conversation occurred.
“How much do you want per hour?”
“Nothing”, I replied.
“What do you mean nothing?”
“I’d like to help you.  In return, if I ever had a question or needed your guidance, I’d like to be able to contact you.”
You know what she said?
“You’ve just articulated how my lasting relationships have all been made.  You have a connection for life in me.”

Nice finishing last, indeed.

The result of the experiment is, that Nice is not Yes.  It’s not Sweet.  It’s not a push-over.  Nice is “Do you have an apple?  Here’s a Ding-Dong.”

See you on the Streets of Business:

I’m the one with a pocket full of apples, a Ding-Dong in her hand, and a smile on her face.

I look forward to imagining that your incorporation of any of this blog’s info will bring you great results in Business and Life.

THE MEASURE OF A MAN

Here’s a little something that encapsulates my feelings on Father’s Day.

THE MEASURE OF A MAN

How is a man measured
When the start and stop are known,
and what are the bell rings with which to atone?

Not just the beginning or end,
but the depth of places,
Dates and times, the benefited faces…
Where folks remember and speak to their kin,
about the man…
His How and His When.

Or the scope of his reach when Work became Art,
from his inventions created,
new cogs and wheels did start.

Or this man assessed as a Husband or Dad,
vows tended, guidance given..the good and the bad,
the lasting effort no matter the time,
the days, months and years
add ring to the chime.

While the measure of a man
after the time of the Gong
is perhaps best left to the Heavens
and to his soul’s song…

For us, his Family,
the measure is clear,
our love is the only gauge
that matters here.

So, to the Man we now measure
of this we agree,
We love you, we thank you,
and we wish you God Speed.

When Waiting for the Dawn, Help the Twilight

I’m always amazed at the power of goodwill.  The world’s axis is not perched on the hands of Atlas, it’s supported by the hands of those who lend one to someone else.  Our goodwill is free much of the time.

When waiting for the dawn, how about helping the twilight?

I have had hands extended to me at important times.  Some I have accepted, and some I have declined.  But, each gave to me a seed of something more than the hand offered: the seed that goodwill is a positive contribution, no matter how or when we offer it, and no matter whether the gesture of giving is accepted.

Nothing says the power of goodwill more than when you’re working on building a new career.  You are aware that there are many doors in front of you.  You want to see the red ones open to you:

On occasion, someone new flashes in front of your path.  If you spy their goodwill quotient, you are most wise.

This quotient is the sense that the person likely offers goodwill.  The point is not that he or she might offer goodwill to you.  This could not be more distant from the point.  The issue is whether that person offers goodwill to people in the world in general.  This quotient is often found in the eyes or the smile.  Goodwill likes to hang out in open, twinkling places.

Sharing goodwill with people who have a high goodwill quotient means that in offering goodwill, you become more like what you find compelling in that person – their lighthearted good nature, their openness to growth and change, their willingness to engage with the world.

Recently, I became inspired to share my goodwill in a professional context.  It was gratefully received.  The rewards to me are immediate, and I’m sure, long term.

The benefits to extending goodwill and feeling the vibration of shared gratitude is one that I will not soon forget, and one that I believe now is the true fuel of success.

In order for goodwill to find you and flourish, you must be willing to give because the cause is worthwhile.  You must rally against any notion that you may benefit.  When you take this approach, you will not only find friends, but you will perhaps find the highest form of personally driven destiny.

Try it:  Give what you can to someone where a need exists.  And, watch the world turn, your hand at its base.

Hello, There. I’ve Missed You, But Then, I Haven’t Been Here

Perhaps, I required a cloudy day, full of needed rain, to bring the miracles..as they may be.  I was finally able to log into this site.  For the past few months, the Universe has been dangling the carrot of “How Bad Do You Want To Write?” as it relates to everything from this blog to screenplays, in front of my face.  As I would pull back to get a good look, that da*n carrot would get yanked up into the stars.

This Blog?  Well, believe it or not, since I have two blogsites, the default login system would not recognize this one, and I could not post here.

And, while I’ve been locked out from here, my waning professional world has called me to action – in a recent missing person’s case.  Sure, very valuable work.  But, not my first choice in terms of what makes me happiest.  And, then, today, the login for this Blog worked.  It’s nice to finally take my shoes off.

Where have I been?  What have I been doing?  Well, there are writing projects that demand one be present:  Follow the Protocols, Do the Work.  But, I have been in another world of writing for these past months:  The World of:  Find the Voice, Speak the Words and Sounds – even if you do not at first understand the language.

The process feels like this, the stack of Stacks I completed in real life recently – Wood like Words:

Sure, I’ve been in a 6-month screenwriting class through ScreenwritingU.  But, that hasn’t been what has colored my writing journey.

It’s that, this comic at heart, this serious goofball, longing to be more lighthearted, actually sits in the corner of a dim, proverbial watering hole (with a Shirley Temple), and pretends it’s aged whiskey that will garner some vast insight and unlocked paradigm..a paradigm that allows for a breakthrough – a right turn onto some fruitful biway.  And, such an undertaking yielded a gamechanger recently:

I was suddenly somewhere new to me, a winding wooded route that took me to:

Dark Water, Shadowed Trails, Lurking Unknowns

Then, to places that I could not at first, traverse.  The foreign landscapes called me down sheer rock faces and up the indigenous ancient ladder of a ghost tribe.  I roamed washes and canyons and excavated the cave dwellings of Lost Souls – of my heart, mind, and subconscious — to release the voices that have resided in Invisibility.  Thankfully, never wandering the desert in search of Writer’s Water.

I have discovered from within its eye, a swirling mass of wind, dusty mist, and unstable, changing pulses..The F-Meter of my Writing Twister, from 0-5 and back again.

The result of this vortex has been characters, dialog, and plot weaves that tickle and gobsmack this writer.

I will relish your squeals when my words from this trip finally find your eyes and ears.  And, the images find themselves perhaps etched to Digital, to score the retinas and gray matter that house the stored images you cherish and berate.

Where have I been?  In a writing funnel cloud, waiting for the house to fall.  And, Here I Am.  I have missed you.

Look for more to come from this Blogger, not too far behind this funnel cloud.

The Mirror According to Me @VerbaVitae

It’s true that if I were Snow White’s senior I might cringe at the commentary on my appearance. After all, no one likes a mirror that talks. Except, perhaps when we choose it ourselves.

I’ve done some soul-searching on this issue recently, as yet another rejection came via a Poetry Competition submission. It was not just any poem, but one that bared all – the sadness and shame that a human might feel as if reflecting on the Thing that is Life – from the view of the Cosmos. Being judged on this poem felt like – well – feeling judged… I had to reel myself back from that and remember that the poem is in my language, and ultimately speaks my truth back to me.

I’ve done some ‘Self-Work’ recently too, and have come to grips with certain truisms that require a face-to-face:  The mortality of my parents, the mortality of my sister, the subjective world of an Artist, and the reality of isolation vis-a-vis proximity to some of my closest friends.

What I’ve concluded this past week is that the only mirror that matters is the one I hold up on purpose – the one I look through and past. The one I tailor for compassion and honesty, with a hint of optimism.

This mirror is necessary for all of us. We can be honest with ourselves about everything. We can prevail over what we see that we’d like to change.

Just now, I have a query out to someone about something. I seem perfect for the job, so to speak. But, is the opportunity perfect for me – that is the true question. Our ideal mirror remembers that fate and chance regularly meet for coffee.

Professionally, I spend a lot of time helping other people sort out their own stuff. Surprising how many don’t realize that the mirror of another is one we can reject, in favor of our own chosen reflection.

As the creative process flows through and in me, this mirror I choose becomes not just happy-making, but success-making. Think about how many people in fields like screenwriting and fiction speak about the need for a person to find her/his own unique voice. And, to speak with that voice as one moves through the world of Creating:  This, the experts say, is the key to success as a writer.

I find that this is the key to happiness as well. My words, my mind. My mirror, my life.

~~

Feel free to share your thoughts. And, as usual, I’ll leave the Light on for ya.

Freaks and The Norm in the Post Office Line; A Primer on Pessimism @VerbaVitae

Scenarios amaze when a fabulous outcome comes down – as if it is other than expected. We ooh and aah; we revel over the event like it’s a miraculous anomaly. And yet, statistics tell us something else. Statistics tell us this: The chance of something unexpected happening on a timeline is  equal in likelihood with the chance that something expected will happen. At any point on that timeline, the most expected and the most unlikely are equally poised to occur in the next moment.

Strangely, we defer to statistics to proclaim that something common is likely. We point to the average and expect it. If we are pessimistic, perhaps we look to the part of the bell curve on the less ideal side. We listen to doctors, stock analysts, trend forecasters, and our own heads. So much support of the less than optimal, that I wouldn’t be surprised if we actually contribute to the next moment being ho-hum.

The previous comment is not just anecdotal. The “New Physics” stumbled on this very thing – the degree to which we can affect the next moment. The New Physics is a term used to describe the modern fields of Physics that explore the aspects of our world that function bizarrely according to traditional approaches, then observe and speculate on possible reasons for them. One fascinating observation drawn by Quantum Physics, a field that can be placed under the umbrella of New Physics, is that when scientists go to look for an electron’s location, they have to stop it from moving because it is so erratic. When they do that, they cannot observe its behavior. When they let the electron do its thing, they can only watch its behavior, but cannot pinpoint its location. It is a statistical mess – manic at best.  This is called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle – for the guy who put this into words.

Anyway, this is the backdrop for the following. Modern scientists took this principle and started to tweak it. They wondered: If they look for an electron where they expect to find it, will they find it more often? This, to determine whether intention has any bearing on the next moment. What they found shocked them and the world: Electrons showed up much more often where scientists  intended to find them than statistical norms suggest they should.

Science took this observation a step further. They asked a control group to intend certain numbers to a computer several hundred miles away – this computer’s sole job was to generate random numbers. The data, conclusive: numbers intended showed up much more often than should statistically.

With this in mind, I wish that we’d be taught this in school; I mean, how would it be if we understood that intention can have a bearing on outcome?

So, over to the discussion at the beginning of this post. We expect the average, or we expect the worst. When and how often do we expect the best outcome? Certainly, we try sometimes. In this regard, culturally, we’ve benefited from the urgings of our traditions. Weddings and births come to mind. We say “May You have a long and happy life together”, even though statistics on unions are not pretty. On births, we say “Congratulations!” before the birth and comment on how wonderful the experience will be from pregnancy to the child’s maturity. Our traditions do not focus on the pain, the risk, the fear, the teenage years. And, this brings up a very valuable point: As a culture, we have found a way to get optimistic, even ideal around things we can’t control that are fundamentally and ultimately risky. So, why don’t we do take this approach with everything?

I once taught as a school for Massage Therapy – largely a self-employment field. Teachers would complain at Staff meetings about the unlikely success of many students, and commented that perhaps, these students should have been barred from admission. Our Teaching Manager would look at them and say “Who are we to determine the outcome of someone else’s success?”

I never forgot that. I now look at the world this way:

Freaks and The Norm stand in the post office line. We live in a statistical stew. The ingredients of this statistical stew are just waiting for their turn at the counter.

The middle line, the 50% mark; image http://economicshelp.org

Whether we expect a wonderful or tragic moment next is up to us. Even if we have experienced tragedy, we can tell our brain that we reject the thought that something bad is coming, and replace that thought with one that gives the “official” position of our head: that we anticipate great things.

You can embrace the idea that your intention affects the next moment. If you decide to embrace this idea, you are set. Just intend good stuff.

If you are unwilling to embrace this idea, then remember that statistics shows us that in the next moment, all things are equally possible.

The orange and the white - equally possible the next moment

Either way, optimism becomes the logical conclusion. But, the choice is yours.

~~

Feel free to drop me a line about your thoughts on the issue. As always, I’ll leave the light on for ya.

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